Delta Air Lines Bans Shipment of Endangered Animal Trophies

Cecil the Lion

When a Wisconsin dentist hunted and killed beloved Zimbabwean beast Cecil the lion last month, animal lovers were outraged. They weren't the only ones, however. Airlines also were upset. In particular, Delta Air Lines, which announced yesterday that it would not transport endangered animal trophies on its planes.

"Effective immediately, Delta will officially ban shipment of all lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo trophies worldwide as freight," the airline said in a statement. "Prior to this ban, Delta's strict acceptance policy called for absolute compliance with all government regulations regarding protected species. Delta will also review acceptance policies of other hunting trophies with appropriate government agencies and other organizations supporting legal shipments."

Consumer group SumOfUs, a corporate watchdog that describes itself as "a new worldwide movement for a better global economy," applauded the move.

"Airlines and other large travel corporations would be foolish to ignore the public reaction to the killing of Cecil the lion, and growing concern about the plight of endangered species. We are glad to see Delta Airlines using its unique position to help end trophy hunting and protect critically endangered species," SumOfUs Campaigns Director Paul Ferris said in a statement. "Now other airlines need to do the same, and stop putting endangered species at risk around the world. It's clear their customers won't continue to tolerate companies that profit off the trafficking of these threatened animals."

After news broke about Cecil the lion's killing, SumOfUs circulated a petition urging Delta and other international airlines to take action. The petition has garnered more than 250,000 signatures to date.

Check out the all-new MeetingNews Minute, featuring exclusive research on industry trends!